In “Phantom Thread”, Paul Thomas Anderson weaves a masterpiece

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IN CLASSIC gothic romances, narrators are unreliable, heroines vulnerable, seducers potent and the settings bleak, imprisoning and full of secrets. In his new film, writer and director Paul Thomas Anderson (“There Will be Blood”, “Magnolia” and “Boogie Nights”) unpicks and refashions these well-worn tropes into something new. Archetypes, such as a timid, “Rebecca”-like narrator, are toyed with, allowing the audience to feel a momentary sense of familiarity, before being discarded or subverted. 

Reynolds Woodcock (Daniel Day-Lewis) is the favoured couturier to society beauties and royal brides in 1950s London. While his confections—from their inception as inky sketches, to the embroidered quotes he hides in their linings, to the final snip of a seamstress’ scissors—are multi-layered, exacting works of art, Reynolds’s character is mottled with ugly corruption (rather like Dorian Gray, with a twist). He can be petulant, rude, puerile, spoilt, controlling, tyrannical, obsessive, unfeeling, even cruel. He is devoted to…Continue reading

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The growth of Marvel’s universe through “Black Panther” is welcome

COSMOLOGISTS, Eastern and Western, ancient and modern, have on occasion mooted the possibility of an ekpyrotic universe, one which expands, then contracts into fire, then expands again. Like most big cosmic ideas, this one has almost certainly been purloined, ornamented and abused more than once in the vast works of …

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By abandoning the Olympics, the NHL has done Russia a favour

EVER since 1998, when North America’s National Hockey League (NHL) began putting its season on hold to allow its players to participate in the Olympics, men’s ice hockey has been a signature sport at the winter games. Elite squads from Canada, the home country of nearly half of the players …

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The Prada Foundation will transform Milan’s contemporary art offering

COMPARED with other major European cities, Milan’s contemporary art offering is slight. The Gallerie d’Arte Moderna, housed in a venerable palazzo, contains some important late-19th-century work, but little of note from the 20th century and nothing from the 21st. The Museo del Novecento, despite its name, is meant to consider …